The Start to Something...2017

I recently shared a transformation photo that I had no idea would resonate with so many people. So much so that it was shared on Popsugar, Teen Vogue, Shape, The Daily Mail, and other media outlets. 

"I am failure for not sticking to consistently training and for not eating as clean as I should have." This is the story I could be telling myself. This is the opinion that could've turn into a fact. I once heard that our reality is largely made up of our perceptions and beliefs, not facts. And that our ideas and theories are based on experiences and opinions, so much so that we start to create stories from these views and judgements. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ So instead of writing a failure story, I chose to look at this set of progress pictures taken a few days ago and tell myself a different story. "Well Jo, you haven't put as much energy into your fitness commitments and IT'S 👌🏾. It doesn't make you less of an example of a strong woman. Since October of last year you were working on recovering from a shoulder injury, rebuilding a marriage that was close to divorce, raising two young women (including an emotional teenager), creating long lasting friendships with women you once felt unworthy to be around, and most importantly going back to school to start a career in health and life coaching that you've been day dreaming about for almost 2 years. Living a HEALTHY LIFE means nourishing all the areas that make you whole. Your fitness is just a part of that. You're a bad ass Jo and you have what it takes to get your groove back. Other areas in your life needed your energy more than you needed to focus on leaning out." ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The chatter in your head will try to find meaning in it because this obstacle is clearly telling you that your dream isn’t supposed to happen. Remind yourself that society has romanticized a concept of what beauty, fitness, and loving yourself looks like. The power to define what beauty means to you is within you. You are the source of your reality. You are the creator of your story. On this part of #therefinedcollective we're talking about "Loving Yourself in the Skin You're In" and on I've shared 6 very powerful things to do when you're beginning to feel the resistance in loving yourself. #linkinbio ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #TheRefinedCollective series was written in collaboration with several incredible women sharing their positivity and light to the 🌎.

A post shared by JOANNE ENCARNACION (@gofitjo) on

My husband had asked me, "Why did you feel so compelled to share this?" I told him that in some way I felt like needing to release a bit of pain that was starting to eat my alive from the inside out. There was a small tiny ounce of me that was beginning to feel the same emotions I felt before my fitness journey began. And before it started to infest my mind with negativity I wanted to face the truth and flip the script of my inner critic. There's an inner bitch within all of us. She's typically the one standing in the corner with her arms crossed, pursed lips, and that smug look across her face saying the nastiest things under her breathe. The words that escape her mouth are audible enough to hear the words clearly, but not loud enough to confront her.  Yes you know that critic well, she's always there in those moments of doubt, fear, shame, and blame.

I was writing about Loving Your Skin for The Refined Collective, which originally was going to be a post all about skin care, but as I sat staring in front of my computer at the article I had already written I was pretty much disgusted at myself for not being authentic, raw, and real. These qualities that most people say they appreciate about me when they meet me. So just a handful of hours before the post was scheduled to go live I rewrote the blog post and IG post that caused a bit of a storm. I wanted to show you guys me, in this moment. And the simple acknowledgement from the hundreds of comments from women saying "I've been there too..." was enough to start yet another healing process.

This is me after 7 days

left: March 10, 2017 || right: March 17, 2017

left: March 10, 2017 || right: March 17, 2017

There were only a handful of things that I changed in order to start to see progress.

  1. I cut out the processed food intake.
  2. Became more consistent with my workout schedule. 
  3. Added 3 days of cardio to my 4-5 days of lifting. 
  4. Added more healthy fats into my diet and reduced the processed carbs. 

The feeling of creating my own plan to help redefine what balance is to me in 2017 is exciting, scary, but most importantly self empowering. I've learned enough over the past few years of my fitness journey to understand how to listen to my body and take action towards my goals. Now that things are much more aligned in my personal and career life its time to start putting all the pieces together again. Here we go! 

Defining Healthy

Never be ashamed of your story, one day it will inspire others. 

  progress from Jan '16 - Apr '16

  progress from Jan '16 - Apr '16

 progress from Jan '16 - Apr '16

 progress from Jan '16 - Apr '16

 This is my progress of far in 2016. The photo on the left is from January and the photo on the right is from this morning and these photos represent a 4LB weight loss. I started my fitness journey in August of 2013 and what I’ve learned over the past couple of years is that, like any journey or progress in life, you will have your seasons of high and low. The quicker you learn that you may not live the same way in each season, the easier it is to understand your abilities to live life to the fullest.

from 134lbs to 94lbs (Feb 2013 - July 2014)

from 134lbs to 94lbs (Feb 2013 - July 2014)

In the first year of my fitness journey, my progress was so defined by the numbers on the scale. I wouldn’t say that I was defined by it, but it definitely was used as a measurement to my success and efforts. In the past year I’ve been learning that the scale really doesn’t mean much and shouldn’t mean much. I know this, but from time to time it takes me a little convincing, a lot of self reassurance, and progress pictures to prove that there is change happening despite the rate of the results. Because society has trained us to think that “instant” or “fast” results is the right answer, we’ve built this insecurity in ourselves when we do not see the results as quickly when comparing to past seasons in our journey or others.

A number lost on the scale doesn’t define “healthy”.

The number of days in the gym with no rest days does not define “healthy”. Eating a low carb diet does not define “healthy”.

The definition of health is: enjoying health and vigor of body, mind, or spirit. Being healthy is an attitude, its a feeling, its defined by someone having physical strength and not illness. Being healthy means you can live whole heartedly, joyfully, and that you have the ability to promote healthy habits in both the way you move and nourish your mind and body.

#iamhealthy and this morning I woke up realizing that I need to stop being so hard on myself about how far I’ve come because this life is not a race, its a journey and maybe its not about becoming anything. Maybe its about reinventing the woman I was so that I can be who I was meant to be in the first place. (sorry for the late #transformationtuesday)